No more smoking in public due to the tobacco law

Since the tobacco law came into effect in 1988, things have changed every few years. There are smoke-free work spaces and smoke-free catering establishments, in fact smoking is no longer allowed in most places in public. There are smoking posts at stations and staff are no longer allowed to work in areas where smoking occurs. Smoking is no longer allowed in airplanes, taxis and discos. What are you actually allowed to do?

The tobacco law

The Tobacco Act was created in 1988 and has been amended or amended many times since then. There will also be more changes in the near future. The next change will concern the smoking policy in tolerated coffee shops. As of July 1, 2008, tobacco smoking is no longer permitted in any public space, workplace or entertainment venue. This even applies to the tolerated coffee shops, a smoking facility in itself, you would think. But a joint with tobacco is no longer allowed, unless it should already be in an enclosed smoking area. The staff may not carry out any work such as serving or cleaning up in that smoking area during opening hours. The tobacco law applies to all tobacco products that you can:

  • smoking
  • plums
  • sniff
  • suck

This mainly concerns all cigarettes and rolling tobacco, but also cigars and pipe tobacco. Sales to persons under the age of sixteen are not permitted for all tobacco types.


The necessary guidelines have also been drawn up for the packaging itself of the tobacco products:

  • Since May 1, 2002, it has been mandatory to print clearer warnings on the packaging of smoking products. The texts and warnings themselves are determined by a European directive and are used in Europe for the same purposes. Everyone in their own language of course.
  • The warning on the front must take up at least 30% of the total package, while the text on the back must take up even 40% of the package.
  • There are two different warnings for the front and no fewer than fourteen for the rear. These must be used alternately. So when you print a load of cigarette or rolling tobacco packaging, they are all included.
  • For cigarettes, the tar and nicotine content of each cigarette must be stated. The maximum amounts for this are 10 mg tar, 1 mg nicotine and 10 mg carbon monoxide.
  • Roll-your-own cigarette packaging must state the tar and nicotine content of one roll-your-own cigarette (calculated at 750 mg tobacco). The maximum content for tar is 12 mg. Cigars and pipe tobacco are not yet required to state the contents on the packaging, but who knows what the future will bring.
  • Smoking products that do not meet these guidelines may not be sold in the Netherlands. This applies, for example, to foreign cigarettes.


Smoking areas

If you have a business you have two choices:

  • You can create a separate smoking area (several even, if you have a large company), but this must be completely lockable and not cause any nuisance or smoke nuisance outside the smoking areas.
  • You can make your company completely smoke-free.

A smoking area must be a space that can be closed off, with extraction for the smoke. Smoking is not allowed outside the area and people outside the smoking area should not be bothered by the smoke odors or fumes from ,the smoker’s den, as it is laughably called in most companies. Staff may not carry out any work in these areas during opening hours.

Smoking ban

The Tobacco Act states that every employee must be able to do his or her work without experiencing inconvenience or nuisance caused by other people’s smoking. Even if everyone in your company smokes and no one has a problem with smoking, smoking is not allowed in a workplace. There are smoking areas for this. Smoking is also not allowed in canteens, but you are allowed to create an additional smoking canteen. This must be indicated by a sign ,smoking area, and this area must be properly lockable. Good extraction is also not an unnecessary luxury. You must especially ensure that this area does not spread smoke outside the smoking canteen. Make sure that non-smoking employees do not have to come into this room for other things such as a toilet, coffee machine or snack machine. Smoking is also not allowed in your own office, it is a workplace and smoking is not allowed in workplaces.

Rights as a smoker

You may wonder whether, with all these rules, you have any rights as a smoker. The very simple answer is no, your company may take smokers into account, but it is not obliged to do so. However, it is mandatory to take non-smokers into account.


Currently, tobacco use or cigarettes are still allowed in tolerated coffee shops. As of July 1, 2008, this will only be permitted if it does not contain tobacco. A pure joint with only weed and/or hashish. But even in that case, the company itself is subject to the rule that its staff must be able to work in a smoke-free area. A smoking area may be created, provided that it can be closed properly and does not cause any nuisance. No work may be carried out in these areas during opening hours.

Smoking in the catering industry

From July 1, 2008, smoking is no longer allowed in workplaces in the catering industry. The exception that was previously made has therefore been lifted for all employers and also for entrepreneurs without employees.

Smoking in a smoking area is permitted, provided that the area:

  • can be closed properly
  • is indicated as a smoking area by means of a sign ,smoking area,
  • no nuisance or smoke nuisance spread outside the smoking areas

Staff are not allowed to enter this area during opening hours to work, such as serving customers and cleaning up. Only for smoking. Smoking on an outdoor terrace is also allowed. However, if you have a canopy, one of the sides must be open at all times. You are not allowed to place room dividers or plants, etc. here to shield it. Here too, there may be no nuisance or nuisance caused by smoke on the terrace in any of the other areas.

Smoking in government buildings

Since 1990, smoking has not been allowed in government buildings, workplaces and places used for communal use. If you cannot or do not want to comply with this, you can even incur a hefty fine.

Smoking in passenger transport

Airplanes have been flying smoke-free since 2002, but the tobacco law also applies to all other forms of passenger transport. Since 2004, other passenger transport such as taxis, buses and trains must also transport people smoke-free. Trains have the option to create a separate smoking area at the station itself. The so-called ,smoker’s poles,.


Anyone who cannot or does not want to comply with the tobacco law and still smokes a cigarette runs the risk of receiving a hefty fine. In general, the fine for a first offense is 300 euros, which can increase to around 2400 euros if repeated. Anyone who does not comply with the advertising regulations can expect a fine of 4,500 euros.

Advertising and sponsorship

Tobacco advertising may only be used in certain cases. Businesses such as a tobacconist or the cigarette corner at the supermarket and the gas station are still allowed to hang or use advertising. However, this may not be aimed at young people and may not leave the store. It is purely intended for advertising purposes in the business itself. Those who do not adhere to it will cost 4,500 euros. You are also no longer allowed to be sponsored by a ,smoke brand, in the car and motorsport circuits.

Leave a Comment